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First report of meningitis since 2008 reported on campus

Photo+of+the+McKinley+Health+Center+on+1109+S.+Lincoln+Ave.+on+April+17%2C+2016.
Photo of the McKinley Health Center on 1109 S. Lincoln Ave. on April 17, 2016.

Photo of the McKinley Health Center on 1109 S. Lincoln Ave. on April 17, 2016.

The Daily Illini File Photo

The Daily Illini File Photo

Photo of the McKinley Health Center on 1109 S. Lincoln Ave. on April 17, 2016.

A University student was admitted to Carle Foundation Hospital with a confirmed case of meningococcal meningitis last Tuesday.

Close friends and roommates of the student are being contacted in order to identify others who may be at risk. The student lives on the fourth floor at LAR.

Medical Director of McKinley Health Center Dr. Robert Woodward and professional consultants at the Illinois Department of Public Health have maintained that others are not in danger of infection. The exception is if they come into close and prolonged contact — for eight hours and within three feet — with the infected student.

Woodward said this is the first meningitis case ever since 2008.

Rosemary Montgomery, junior in Engineering, did not hear about the case but said that it is scary.

“Meningitis is a serious issue,” Montgomery said.

The symptoms of meningitis include a fever of over 101 degrees with a sudden severe headache or stiff neck, a rash or mental confusion.

To protect the patient’s confidentiality, McKinley has not released the current status of the student who was admitted.

Tony Wu, graduate student in Business, had not heard of the case of meningitis but said it is frightening that such a widely vaccinated illness can still be transmitted despite medical efforts to eradicate it.

Erin Threlkeld, senior in LAS, was also unaware of the outbreak. She said she knew people were sick but just thought it was normal.

Threlkeld said she is appreciative about having resources like McKinley but wishes there would be more emails and information on issues such as where to get vaccinations. 

“I also feel like it can be busy, but (McKinley needs) to be up to date about keeping their sanitation pumps full,” she said. “I’ve seen people who will not wash their hands and leave the bathroom and touch other stuff.”

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